A comfortable inn with free breakfast of homemade muffins, eggs, and various jellies, two miles from Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Hotel At a Glance: Highland Manor Inn
The Highland Manor Inn is a two-minute drive from the Western entrance to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park on the “Peaceful Side of the Smokies.” The inn provides a comfy place to call home as you explore the natural wonders of the Smokies. Innkeepers Don and Sandy Headrick have operated the inn for 37 years and have given it several homey touches, from baking in-house muffins to loaning coffee pots if you’d like to make coffee in your room.
- Dig in to the free continental breakfast, which includes English muffins, hard-boiled eggs, bagels, cream cheese, peanut butter, jelly, cereals, pastries, and a variety of homemade muffins. Beverages include juice, hot chocolate, tea, and coffee.
- Stroll the grounds and admire the views of the Great Smoky Mountains
- Hang out on your private terrace or balcony and watch the sun come up
- Things to do: Explore the area and its sight-seeing opportunities through natural activities, ranging from hikes and horseback riding along the local trails to fishing and biking with friends and family.
- Great Smoky Mountains National Park is 2 miles from the inn
- Distance to Gatlinburg: You’re just 22 miles from the more commercialized tourist towns and 15 miles to Pigeon Forge.
Townsend, Tennessee: Peaceful Entrance to the Great Smoky Mountains
Townsend’s nickname is “The Peaceful Side of the Smokies.” This tiny town (population 400) in eastern Tennessee has the least-busy entrance to Great Smoky Mountains National Park, with more than 500,000 acres of protected forests, hiking trails, and picturesque streams. Here, you’ll find none of the kitsch and tourist-geared trappings of Gatlinburg, another of the park’s main entrances. Instead, you’ll find a few local restaurants and stunning mountain views at every turn. Plus, the Foothills Parkway has just opened from Walland into Wears Valley, sporting its own breathtaking views.
Head to the Great Smoky Mountains Heritage Center in Townsend, a museum that documents the area’s history, to see a hand-built log cabin and Native American artifacts, as well as shows at the outdoor theater. For more of a local look, visit the Little River Railroad and Lumber Museum, where you can see the history of the area in action, and includes indoor and outdoor exhibits. If you’re in the mood to get out of town, visit the nearby theme parks and other attractions that provide hours of entertainment.